Saffron leaders block Karnal road to pray for traffic safety

  • Vishal Joshi, Hindustan Times, Karnal
  • Updated: Dec 01, 2014 09:47 IST

Leaders of saffron organisations apparently believe more in divine intervention than pressing the authorities to make roads safe.

On Sunday, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parliamentarian Ashwini Kumar Chopra “Minna”, officer on special duty (OSD) to the chief minister, Amrendra Singh, Karnal mayor Renu Bala Gupta and several others from the BJP, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal participated in a ‘havan’ in the memory of victims of road accidents.

While blocking an underpass of the elevated national highway number 1 for nearly one-and-a-half-hour in the morning, they also collectively prayed the God to control deaths on the highways. The ‘havan’ that started at 9 am was organised at the underpass at Nirmal Kutiya Chowk, one of the busiest point in the city. The spot is barely a few metre away from the office of the inspector general of police and the district police headquarters.

The function was organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the district authorities did not confirm that any official permission was sought for organising an event on NH-1. Justifying organising a religious event on NH-1, VHP’s district president Ishwar Prem Gupta claimed that he had a prior permission from the deputy commissioner.

“Recently, two persons were killed and several injured when two buses collided at the same point. Last year, a bus had fallen from elevated highway near Nirmal Kutiya. It was a ‘shanti path’ for accident victims,” he said. Gupta said road was blocked for a havan as “it was done in the public interest and there was less traffic on road on Sunday”.

However, newly-appointed deputy commissioner J Ganesan said he was not sure if any permission was sought to organise any function on NH-1 as he was on leave on Sunday.

Superintendent of police Abhishek Garg also expressed ignorance if the police had given any clearance for such a programme. “I have to check the facts,” said the SP. However, a cross section of local residents HT spoke to, called the function unwarranted and said by holding a ‘havan’, the leaders had in fact jeopardised vehicular traffic on the busiest road of north India.

“When an accident took place on November 16, poor traffic management was seen as a major reason behind death of two persons. As all underpasses on the elevated highways are without traffic lights and slip roads, these leaders should have pooled money to install traffic signals to help save precious lives,” said a woman teacher in Sector 13. A bank official in Sector 7 asked if blocking a road was not an offence.

A state police functionary on the condition of anonymity said that even such kind of symbolism was contrary to the concept to road safety.

“Three Es of road management i.e. education, enforcement and engineering are a major challenge in the country, including Haryana, and presence of organs of government at such venues give a discouraging signal to society. There is a need to sensitise people from top to bottom of taking road safety so lightly,” said the SP-rank official.

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